Senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and John Cornyn of Texas, leaders of the Judiciary Committee, have long shown an admirable commitment to open government, and their recent bill to amend the Freedom of Information Act is winning a ton of praise. Some of its reforms make sense, but, unfortunately, its key provision is a horrible idea. By reducing the protection now given to deliberations within the executive branch, it would have a chilling effect on those discussions.
Regulating is an inherently legislative exercise, in that it entails the promulgation of rules that control private behavior. Indeed, most policy now is rendered via regulation, thanks to the geometric growth of the executive branch during the post-war years.*
However, unlike legislators in congress, executive agency bureaucrats are unaccountable to the electorate. As a result, there’s a danger that executive agencies are effectuating policy absent a popular mandate and away from the public eye.
Read More… from Blog: Leahy-Cornyn Bipartisan FOIA Reform Doesn’t Go Far Enough; Congress Should Exempt EPA from FOIA b(5)